The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reviewed the curfew earlier imposed in the state to now start from 10 pm to 5 am as part of efforts to check the spate of COVID-19 cases in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.
The governor, who rolled out several measures to halt the spread of the virus in the state during a press conference inside the government house in Benin city, the Edo state capital also announced the suspension of schools’ resumption till at least February 1st, 2021
Governor Obaseki said the state government had put in place a robust response mechanism in dealing with the first wave of the coronavirus, but that data from a comparison between the first and the second wave of the pandemic has shown that there is a need to take drastic measures to curb the spread of the new wave of the virus, which has been confirmed to be more virulent and infectious.
According to him, “Comparing the first six weeks of the pandemic from March 23, 2020, with the first six weeks since December 1, 2020, Edo State has witnessed an 84.5 percent rise in the number of infected persons.
“There has also been a 10.5 percent increase in the number of older persons infected with Covid-19. It is early days yet, but we have evidence suggesting that more older persons infected with COVID-19 are dying.
“Most of the cases in the early phase of the pandemic were travel-related but since December 2020, there has been a 13.9 percent increase in community transmission of the disease. This is a big concern especially with the evidence before us that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of persons infected with COVID-19 who show no signs or symptoms of the disease but are transmitting it in our communities. Our children and youth are major contributors to this group.”
On the new directives to halt the spread of the virus, he said the general recommendations are that individuals, groups, and organizations must take responsibility to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact.
“Curfew is now reviewed from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday 16th January 2021,” he added.
On schools’ resumption, Governor Obaseki said schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021, when the prevailing realities are to be reviewed to determine if it would be safe to reopen the schools.
The governor also stressed that sanctions and incentives shall be used to drive better compliance using enforcement and monitoring teams across the state, urging government-owned organizations to model best practices.
On religious gatherings, the governor said, “Handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap/alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided at entry and exit points. There must be temperature checks at entrance points and facemasks must be used correctly and consistently.
“Sitting in gatherings should not exceed a maximum of 30% of capacity per session and ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m) must be adhered to. The length of meetings should not exceed 1 hour and there must be breaks in-between sessions for decontamination. Children below 12 years and adults above 60 years should stay at home.
“Monitoring/Enforcement teams must be set up and include powerful and influential religious leaders as drivers. There must be sensitization on covid-19 prevention during every meeting. Written commendation by the governor and deputy governor will be issued to religious institutions who show good compliance to Covid-19 preventive measures.”
For the transportation sector, the governor insisted that there must be compulsory, consistent and proper use of face masks by riders, drivers and passengers, adding “Monitoring/Enforcement team must be set up. Stop and check teams are to be set up to track and sanction motorbikes, tricycles, cars, buses for non-compliance with facemask use.”
He added that there must be a strict observation of ‘no facemask, no entry’ policy in hotels, lounges, bars, restaurants while insisting on no eat-ins in restaurants.
“These facilities must provide handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap and reduce numbers of chairs in bars, lounges and others and maintain physical distancing. All public swimming pools must be closed or pool party events banned,” the governor added.